Something I have struggled with since the age of about sixteen is headaches and migraines. Before that age, I’d never experienced either, but by my mid-teens the headaches started, and gradually over the last fifteen years they’ve increased in frequency and severity. I avoid talking about my experiences with headaches and migraines because people think “Oh, she’s just got a bit of a headache” but a migraine is far, far worse. At my worst, I’ve been admitted to hospital for my migraines and ended up in A&E on countless occasions because of how bad they get.
There’s a huge difference between headaches and migraines. If you’ve never had a migraine – you’re lucky! A headache is a common problem – sore head, pain in one or more part and it can range in severity. But a migraine will leave you completely incapacitated. At their worst, my migraines mean I can’t open my eyes, speak or move at all. The effects are so severe for me that I’ve been admitted to hospital because my migraines affect my eyes – making my pupils dilate in very abnormal ways. Weird, scary and an extreme reaction.
For me, all my migraines start as a headache. But not all my headaches turn in to migraines. I have tried many, many solutions over the years, but unfortunately my migraines are so bad that I saw a Neurologist who prescribed me regular medication…medication so strong that you can only have controlled amounts at once. Basically my medication widens the blood vessels in my brain – scary huh? When I explain to people that my migraines are so bad that I have to widen the blood vessels in my head, my vision goes and my eyes dilate and look scary – people then start to realise that migraines aren’t the same as headaches – at all. Although as someone who has headaches as well as migraines, a ‘headache’ can cause such bad pain as well.
My headaches always start the same – very slight, faint pains or aches, usually in one side of my head, but they can happen anywhere. Sometimes I know it’s been started with too much caffeine, or my hormonal inbalance (I have PCOS and Endometriosis) but other times I genuinely have no clue what’s started it. All I know is that I have to act if I want to stop the pain getting worse. Because my headaches build and build, I have to nip them in the bud early.
Admittedly, sometimes I ignore my headaches – I have no idea why. Usually because I’m so busy and I think it will go off on it’s own – which it never does. But mostly I get caught up in everyday life and don’t act until my headache is raging – which is silly because by then I’m already experiencing pain!
I’ve learnt simple techniques to help with managing my headaches. For example:
1. Drinking lots of water – I can’t put in to words how much this helps. Not only do I get less headaches altogether when I drink more water, but if I’ve already got the pain, lots of water helps to relieve some of the tension.
2. Not looking at screens – pretty tough when you’re a full time blogger! But I know that sometimes too much screen time can make things worse, so I try to call it a day with screens altogether when a headache hits.
3. Having a hot bath or shower – this naturally encourages the blood vessels in the head to change (or so I’ve found!) and by relaxing, I am less tense and more likely to let go of any stress that’s making things worse.
4. Keeping medication at home – aside from my strong migraine medication, I keep Solpadeine in my house at all times. While it won’t work with migraines, it will work with my headaches, so it’s my first point of call. Solpadeine is more than paracetamol because it’s got added codeine – a much stronger form of pain relief. In fact, it’s one of the strongest forms of pain relief without prescription. Solpadeine will give quick relief from traditional headaches and give you enough time to drink water, rest and relax a bit – to hopefully cancel out the headache altogether. The best thing about these is that you can get them online from Chemist4U.
For me, prevention is better than cure, so I do try to drink water, eat well and rest. But as a busy mum of two and full time blogger, my lifestyle doesn’t exactly help at times! For me, understanding that I am prone to headaches means I’m prepared for them when they hit. From keeping medication in at all times, to watching my diet – it’s so important to understand that headaches are so much more than people think.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Chemist4U but as ever all opinions are entirely my own. Please refer to my Disclaimer page for more details.